Sunday, September 19, 2010

Looking for Alaska, Copper Sun, Tears of a Tiger, Marked

Hello!  I have been super busy with the beginning of a new school year so I haven't posted in awhile.  That does not mean that I have taken a break from reading though!

     First up today is the book Looking for Alaska by John Green.  In this book the protagonist is a high school boy who decides to ask his parents to send him to the boarding school his father went to.  He doesn't really have any friends at his school in Florida and is looking for a new beginning somewhere.  At the new boarding school he becomes friends with a rather motley group of students who enjoy pulling pranks.  One of the group is a girl named Alaska who is gorgeous and elusive and quirky.  There is a sense of suspense throughout the novel because each section has a heading counting down to some event.  This is a novel that contains some mature references but is one I would recommend to many teens.  I was drawn to it first because it is a novel that won the Printz award for young adult books.  Every book that I have read that has had that distinction has been an excellent book.

    The next two books were both written by Sharon Draper.  The first book, Copper Sun, was recommended to me by a fellow teacher.  The book starts out describing a very nice domestic scene in a village in Africa and very quickly turns into a tragedy when the white slave traders come to the village and kill everyone that they do not find to be suitable to bring with them for slavery.  The narration is through the voice of a young woman who then tells of her journey on a slave ship, being bought at auction, and living as a slave on the plantation where she ends up.  Throughout the second part of the book the narration skips back and forth between Amari, the slave, and Polly, a white indentured servant. I learned a few things that I did not know about the history of the United States and a free village that existed in Spanish Florida.  I would highly recommend this book.

    The second book by Sharon Draper that I read recently was Tears of a Tiger.  The book starts with a tragic accident in which a star basketball player dies.  The book explores the level of grief that the other students go through and the struggles of the student who was driving the car with survivor's guilt.  It is a fascinating and sad book.  I really appreciated the way the author used many different formats to narrate the book.  The narration was a collection of letters, newspaper articles, glimpses into students' thoughts, etc.  I know that this book is the first in a trilogy and I will definitely be seeking out the other two books. Be ready to read a tragic story when you sit down to read this one.

   The last book that I want to talk about is the book Marked by P.C. Cast and Kristen Cast.  This is the first book in the House of Night series.  I have to say that I was somewhat reluctant to read this one because I am a little sick of the vampire craze lately.  (Not that I haven't also been a part of the craze)  I was pleasantly surprised by this book.  The authors created a whole new idea of what the vampire myth could be and it is very intriguing.  I really enjoyed getting to know the main character and learning about her adventures.  This book is reminiscent of Harry Potter and worth the read.

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